US Army keen to learn from Indiaâ€™s counter-insurgency operations SOURCE: PTI Impressed by the Indian Armyâ€™s successful counter-terrorism operations, the US Army Chief has proposed joint training between the armies of the two countries. Noting that there is much to learn between the militaries of the two countries, US Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called for joint training to benefit from Indiaâ€™s experiences in counter-insurgency in a tough environment and difficult terrain. â€œWe would love to do some joint training in the mountainous environment, because what the Indian Army has learned over the years, we would love to share what we learned about counter-insurgency and compare experiences and see how we can learn from each other and how we can direct that to use in the future, so for me it is something that is important,â€ Odierno told PTI in an interview. Odierno, 58, during a rare trip to India late last month, met his Indian counterpart General Bikram Singh besides holding meetings with Defence Minister A K Antony and visiting the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur. Highly impressed by the Indian militaryâ€™s successful counter-insurgency operations, he said, the US would like to learn from the Indian experience as to how to fight terrorists in a tough environment and difficult terrain. When asked if the US would like to have joint exercises in Jammu and Kashmir where the terrain is difficult like that of Afghanistan, Odierno said he would like to look at that. Odierno said that this is something that the US may be interested in but still need to take a look at by sending people to train in these types of environments. â€œI think, we would like to look atâ€¦we send may be send some people to learn how you train and operate in those environment and those are kind of had some initial discussions onâ€¦much more has to be done. It is things like that we would be interested in,â€ he said. â€œEverybody recognises, India has so much in common with the US and that it is important for us to sustain a strong long-lasting relationship,â€ the US Army Chief of Staff said. â€œIt is important for us to sustain a long-term relationship of one that is equal, one that respects each otherâ€™s strategic autonomy, but that one that enables us to learn from each other to develop together, to deal with many of the issues that we face around the world,â€ he said. Indian and US troops have already held joint exercises in the past in the mountainous Ladakh region in 2003. During his visit to the Northern Command he gained firsthand knowledge of Indiaâ€™s counter-terrorism and counter- insurgency operations, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. The Northern Command has the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and the Nagrota-based 16 Corps which look after the counter- insurgency operations in the state. Last monthâ€™s visit was Odiernoâ€™s second trip to India and the first as the Army Chief of Staff. The last time he visited India was in 2005/2006 along with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in his capacity as her military adviser. â€œAs I travelled with the Secretary of State, she was there to reinforce how important the relationship between the two large democracies of the world was. And I think, this is something that has been ongoing for some years now,â€ he said. Recollecting the words of President Barack Obama that the US-India relationship is one of the most important strategic relationships that the US has, Odierno said in most of the important relationships foundation is strong on military to military ties. â€œAnd I think, as we move ahead, it is important for us to recognise that we have much in common. I think because of the long term relationship we had of the US sending its officers to India for training and India sending officers to the US for training, it is just the first sign of how close we are.â€ Fresh from his India trip, the top American General said over the last 10 years, militaries of the two countries have been doing a lot of the same things, operating in harsh environments and conducting counter-insurgency operations. â€œSo we have a lot in common, a lot to learn from each other. I think, as we look ahead, we want to build from that common relationship that I think we have in our common experiences,â€ he noted. Odierno said the US military can also learn from the Indians on how they protect their long border. â€œWe do not quite have the same issues in the US. However, what we can learn from them, is the techniques that they use to protect their sovereignty and those techniques can be used by us as we might have to conduct operations in the future no matter where it might be, against whoever it might be there is a lot of lessons to be learnt,â€ he said. â€œIt is my belief that not only with India but with all our partners it is important that it must be a community of nations together who work to fight terrorism. I think the more relationships that we can build who have common objectives about combating terrorism, is really important,â€ Odierno said. â€œI think, as we look forward, that would be importantâ€¦ that we work with India and many other nations involved,â€ he added.